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by F. A. Hutchison
Issue 11
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'Triskaidekaphobia'… Silly business! '13,' has always been one of my luckier numbers. So, why all the fuss? I learned recently reading, 'The Da Vinci Code.' Seems Pope Leo rounded up many Knights Templar(s) and tortured/executed them on this day (way back in history). Thus, it became know as 'unlucky!' or to beware! Anyway, a little bit of history, however accurate. 'History is written by the winners,' someone said, thus suspect.

I'm still in Shanghai.

Things, things, things,
People rushing,
Things, things, things,
Running, running, running,
Things, things, things,
Yelling, yelling, yelling,
Things, things, things,
People rushing,
People buying,
People selling,
Things, things, things,
Sirens blaring,
Honking, honking, honking,
People running
Faster, faster, faster!

Things, things, things,
People smoking,
Blowing, blowing, blowing,
People working,
Money, money, money,
People eating,
Digest, digesting, digested,
Red, green, amber all,
Things, things, things,
More, more, more,
Yelling, yelling, yelling,
Things, things, things,
And more things,
In Shang Hai!

It's tough for me to be in a City like this for too long, and now it's getting to be too long. My feet never touch soil, only concrete (people wonder why they become ill), my eyes hardly behold the night sky! I long for the country, peace, fewer people!

In the meantime, life in the 'crowded lane'…

Bhuwan and I went to purchase a RR ticket a couple days ago. No tickets to Uremqi until after the 'Spring Festival.' I was not shocked, as I'm now privy to travelling in China. Everyone goes home for 'Spring Festival,' and there was some 'shocking' number of 'trips' predicted to be purchased during this holiday period… Something like one billion! That means 500,000,000 people are travelling during this period! Can you imagine 2X the entire population of the U.S. are travelling in a two-week period (entirely within China)!

Normally, the train stations are jammed, but I can only imagine this 'nightmare!'

Once again the Zhaos are helping, however! Stephanie found out that Dr. Linj (Mr. Zhao's TCM doctor at Gongming) is returning to Altay (northern Xinjiang Province) and knows how to get tickets. He said he'd get one for me! The departure won't be until the 23rd or 24th, but 'beggars cannot be choosers!' I thought about flying, but this costs twice as much.

This will put me into Uremqi on the 25th or 26th, the 28th their 'Christmas' (New Year's) Eve! Then how will I get to Kashgar, another 24-hour train ride? I'm not sure. All I know is I'd like to be on Ms. Fiets wherever I go in China (summer or winter).

'Oh momma, can this really be the end, to be stuck inside of Shanghai with the Xinjiang blues again?' (slightly paraphrased from Bob Dylan)

My friend Rodney Guan, my Chinese friend in Taizhou, keeps suggesting a bus! But, how to explain I don't like motorized conveyance, especially buses (which are involved in accidents all the time-going too fast). I want to go very slowly (must be my age)! I want to go on Ms. Fiets!

I was thinking if I were 'trapped' in Shang Hai for another month, I'd purchase a small 'folding' bicycle, and crank around the area. Amazingly, these only cost from 600 to 1,000 Yuan / $50 to 120 U.S. dollars. I'd then travel it around, easier than Ms. Fiets, as it folds up.

In the meantime, I walk all over Shang Hai.

The other day I was walking back from Shanghai's Foreign Language Bookstore, and witnessed a Chinese woman fall off a curb (similar to my fall in Kashgar). I helped her up, as she was injured, complaining of her abdomen (possibly cracked a rib). But, she managed to get herself together and go on (no doubt home).

Why do we older people fall? I'm not sure, as my balance is as good as ever! I think maybe we're not watching as closely, and when we fall the blow is more serious (bigger deal). When you're younger your body is more flexible, more like rubber and you're less likely to suffer greatly. However, I did break my leg when only 34-years old. I missed a curb (crossing 2nd Avenue in N.Y.C.), my heel hitting the pavement too hard!

Some other China-cana… My laundress… What a lovely Chinese woman! This is the kind of woman men should marry… Not particularly attractive, but always smiling, always seeming happy!

This middle-aged woman has her little 'launderette' across from where I'm living (277 Dong Tai Lu), thus convenient for me. But, it's so small and cramped you have to stand on the sidewalk to deliver and pick up whatever-no room inside. There's also little light or windows (besides the glass doors) in this place full of garments and more garments, hanging, folded, in piles, everywhere. She's in this little 'closet,' working 13 hours per day!

She takes in my little bit of clothing to be washed in 'kai shue' ??? (boiling water) and charges me only 10 Yuan ($1.25 U.S.). Then she irons everything including my underwear. I always give her more! Her smile worth millions! I want to do something for her, like take a photograph of her, and 'plaster' around the world as a wonderful example (of someone with such a positive attitude).

Note, most Chinese do their own laundry (by hand) and hang it out on poles above the sidewalks. Wherever you go in Shanghai, you see panties, bras, hose, and everything else drying above the sidewalks. No electric clothes driers used here in China (maybe in expensive hotels). Thus, Chinese only go to my 'laundress' for 'cleaning.' She's really doing me a favor washing my clothing. But, I go there to see her smile!

More 'China-cana!' Shanghai-ians are the most impatient people I've ever witnessed (make New Yorkers look like 'slow pokes'). I've been observing their behavior, crossing the streets on red lights (they risk their lives as they can't wait). Also, in the elevator of my (Zhao's) building. I ride the elevator up and down to the 23rd floor.

I'm thinking about using the stairs as a workout… 23 flights down and up would be good workout, no doubt. I'm not getting much exercise in Shang Hai!

But, EVERYone, and I mean EVERYone (100% so far) who gets into the elevator (observed) has to 'hit' the 'close door' button! I'm the only rider who allows the 'natural cycle,' to occur (this takes maybe five seconds)! I mean maybe they save two seconds by doing so! But, they can't wait, 'rushing, rushing, rushing!' (note the poem above).

It's madness! They've been sped up like robots, not really knowing why they're rushing around so fast! It's crazy!

While waiting for the elevator to arrive (on the ground floor at least) there is a screen where commercials are played (ad infinitum). Some clever person has made sure that every 'square' minute everywhere we stand, or sit, or lie down, we're watching a sales pitch.

Long ago, when I was still 'mad,' ('I'm mad as hell, and am going to do something about it!') I had an idea for a TV commercial channel! Now, it's here in this form. And they're in 99% of the high rise buildings I've been in Shang Hai. I'm sure this phenomena exists in other countries too! We can't go anywhere anymore without being subjected to a TV screen. I mean in the dingiest places in Xinjiang Province, out where you would never suspect such, there it is, a TV blaring!

'Someday everything's gonna be different, when I paint my masterpiece!' (Dylan again).

I have worked in the television industry most my life… Now, I'm going to have to die to get away from it!

Now, 'programming' (to 'program' us) is coming on your little 'mobile.' Chinese teenagers are watching 'content' (movies, etc.) on that tiny little screen. They're like 'robots!' staring at that little screen wherever they go. Talk about 'control!' And there are 350 million mobile users in China, including me (although I use such differently). I don't even know how to send a text message!

No one has an original thought anymore… They just 'participate virtually!'

G. Orwell, was way ahead of his time! He knew one-hundred years ago what was coming! Now, I'm seeing it, and participating in it!

Is it good or bad? Well, one person's joy is another's sadness, so who knows. It's life in the modern world!

For me, I'm extracting myself from it slowly, wanting to go live in nature, far, far from the madding crowd!

'Modern' life, it's all yours!

www.cyclingpeace.blogspot.com (Friday the 13th, January, 2006)
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Johnny2007-10-29 13:22:21
hi~this is johnny from peking China and i got you website
www.haaqi.com and i'm interesting about ur "Bussiness plan "and right now i'm Entertainment manager maybe we need talk about ur bussiness online
That's my Msn address

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